Ikram Khan, a Scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and founder of ISMO Bio-Photonics Pvt Ltd, has developed a low-cost 3D printing system to create small brain organoids.
3D printing technology is helping the healthcare industry tremendously. Whether hands broken cast scan the bone to be or to print new tissue and organs, treatment of 3-D printing is quite simple. In this era of technology and discovery, Ikram Khan, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has made great use of 3D printing techniques. Ikram Khan, along with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has developed a low-cost 3D-printed system (brain) to develop brain tissue or brain organoids.
Brain organoid is a biological system developed in Petri dishes or incubated conditions. These models are used to study brain tissue development and related to neurological disorders. Apart from this, it can be understood that if someone has such a disorder in the brain, how to treat it and what medicine should be given to him.
Says Ikram, “With 3D printers and biocompatible resins used for dental surgery we were able to create a palm-sized system that can be used to develop small-sized brains. It costs only $ 5, or Rs 375 per unit to build this system, which is cheaper than the chicken buckets found in KFC. ”
Ikram says that traditional systems being used these days are expensive and require physical intervention. This may affect the research process.
Ikram Khan elaborated on how he came up with the idea of low-cost technology innovation and how he moved towards it.
Prototype from project
Ikram was pursuing a Masters in Electrical Engineering. In 2019, when he was in the final year of his studies, he was working on a project related to neural brain imaging technology. This was the time when he realized that there is no easy way to grow organoids without spending money.
Says 28-year-old Ikram, “The methods currently used require incubation systems, which are placed in a room of 10 × 10 feet. While developing organoids, it is important to provide tissue nutrition such as amino acids, salts, and glucose. Also, regular diagnosis is also necessary. This experiment is performed in a closed room, so researchers need to physically intervene. This can infect growing cells. ”
Developing organoids is important in medical research, as it helps to understand how a disorder develops so that it can be treated or prevented in the beginning. Therefore, Ikram started working on a system that would not require human intervention. He mainly focused on developing a device for developing cerebral organoids.
Ikram told that he has worked in the US for 2 months. He says, “I submitted a research proposal to MIT because they have the best biomedical engineering labs and facilities.” In July 2019, he accepted my proposal and allowed me to continue my research with three scholars and a professor. ”
The team developed a palm-sized device, the microfluidic bioreactor, using 3D printers and biocompatible resins used for dental surgery. It runs on electricity. However, with real time imaging and automatic pumping of nutrients, the system does not require any physical intervention.
Says Ikram, “Real-time imaging cameras monitor the organ needed for life to understand cell and tissue growth. The developing platform consists of tubes, which act like human nerves to supply liquids. ”
A better system
By September 2019, the final prototype was designed and then researchers began laboratory-level tests to test its effectiveness. For comparison purposes, they developed brain tissue in incubated conditions. It was developed using microfluidic bioreactors.
Says Ikram, “Within a week, the cells in the incubation started getting infected, while other samples continued to grow. It also provided high-quality images of real-time that help to study cell growth. ”
When Ikram returned to India after research, he planned to build this system at the industrial level and help with research in many areas. In September 2020, he launched ISM-Bio-Photonics Pvt Ltd, an IIT-M incubate company.
Says Ikram, “Through the startup, I plan to develop these tools on a large scale and collaborate with educational institutions to conduct research using these tools.”